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Student UpdateJan 2015 No. 24

Welcome to 2015

Welcome back at the start of another calendar year – it’s still chilly here at CPCAB Towers but already it’s noticeable that the days are growing longer and the spring flowers are beginning to put in an appearance. We hope you’ve had an enjoyable break and are keeping yourselves warm! Here’s to a good year ahead.

We’d also like to welcome Caroline Waite, who has joined us this year as Qualification Leader for Levels 5 and 6. Her family is fairly grown-up nowadays, leaving her time for hobbies including travel and a wide range of reading plus walks with her adorable cocker spaniel, Oscar. Although Caroline is new to Head Office she has a long-standing relationship with CPCAB and we know you’ll enjoy getting to know her.

The Open University Foundation Degree in Counselling – important changes

CPCAB and the Open University are delighted to announce a recent change in the structure of the Foundation Degree which we hope will be helpful.

Learners who have achieved the CPCAB Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling (120 credits) and the mandatory OU module D240 (30 credits) can now choose from a more flexible range of options from both CPCAB and the Open University to complete their Foundation Degree (90 credits). The CPCAB Level 5 Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling and Level 5 Diploma in CBT Skills and Theory, which carry 30 credits each, will still be among the options for completing the Foundation Degree, but they are no longer mandatory. We hope this new arrangement will be helpful in particular to Foundation Degree students who aren't within range of a centre offering CPCAB level 5 qualifications.

For further information please read our announcement made at the time of the change in December 2014.

Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling – loans and gap years

From time to time we receive enquiries from tutors where a candidate isn’t unable to start the second year of TC-L4 at the expected time. It can be possible (though it’s not ideal) to arrange a gap year in special circumstances and if this is the case for you, your tutor will talk you through the process. The following guidance, though, is aimed at students with a 24+ loan where a gap year has already been agreed.

Student loans are paid in monthly instalments directly to the centre and the centre has to keep the funding body informed of your attendance via the Learning Provider Portal (see website details below). If attendance stops then so do the payments. The authorities allow students to take a break of up to a year, (between years 1 and 2) and the payments will stop for the year and recommence when attendance starts again, ie at the beginning of Year 2. If the break is longer than 12 months then the student will have to apply again (under change of circumstances). The same would apply should you change centre half way through the course.

If a student begins Year 2, drops out, then repeats Year 2 starting the following September, the situation is less clear but it’s likely the same procedure will apply. Although the loan is not necessarily for a fixed amount, and the amount of the loan allocated is determined by the individual circumstances, clearly the more a student borrows the more they will have to pay back so there is a limit to what they can borrow.

More information is available from the Learning Provider Services website. This has a FAQs section, a number of relevant factsheets and a Learner Helpline. Remember that this guidance applies only to the funding aspects of your training and that a gap year is only agreed by CPCAB under exceptional circumstances.

When things go wrong

We all hope that you will enjoy every minute of your CPCAB training course and most of our students certainly do! From time to time things do go wrong though.

If you have any concerns at all about your CPCAB training, we strongly recommend that you try to sort it out informally if at all possible, as soon as you can.

When this happens, there are clear boundaries between the roles of your centre and CPCAB as the awarding organisation. Complaints about admission or removal from a course, payment of fees or any aspect of your teaching experience and course work (internal assessment) must be addressed directly with your centre. When you join your group you should be provided with a formal complaints policy that explains how to do this. CPCAB can only review a complaint concerning any of the above areas if you have already exhausted the centre’s own complaints procedure without satisfaction. Our complaints policy explains this in more detail. (link to complaints policy on website). Under these circumstances we will investigate...

  • whether the centre has followed their own processes fairly and properly
  • whether CPCAB guidelines have been followed
  • that there have been no instances of malpractice or maladministration.

It is unlikely that CPCAB could change the results of a centre complaint. Students often assume that CPCAB is the governing body of their training centre but this is not the case; as the awarding organisation (we used to be known as ‘exam boards’) our role is to externally assess and award, plus maintain the integrity of the qualification and CPCAB’s name.

Finally, if you have any concerns at all about your CPCAB training, we strongly recommend that you try to sort it out informally if at all possible, as soon as you can. This is probably the most important part of this message; once the formal complaints process is started up, it effectively closes off other options which can be more likely to lead to a satisfactory conclusion.

Working with dyslexia

At CPCAB we are firmly committed to widening access to our qualifications and supporting candidates with a wide range of disabilities.

In 2011 we began to produce our external assessment papers in a serif-free font, Lucida Sans, after consulting a friend of CPCAB who herself is dyslexic. You can read Sophie’s advice, which includes useful tips for tutors and students, in Student Update September 2011. Since then we have been asked if we can roll out this font to all of our company documentation: however, CPCAB has only recently introduced a new ‘house style’ and the reformatting that would be involved is not practical.

However, key documents are available to download from the CPCAB website and it’s easy for tutors or individual candidates to change the font to Lucida Sans or a different font, depending on choice:

  • From the downloads section of the website, select the ‘Word’ version of the document;
  • Select ‘Save As’ and save to a convenient site on your own computer;
  • Open the document - click ‘no’ to opening it as ‘read-only’;
  • Highlight all (control + A) and change to your font of choice.

You can change the size of the font as well, of course, plus the colour depending on personal choice, but do be aware that the formatting will change and may lead to a longer document than the original. We hope this helps.

Counselling hours with children

no more than 30% of the time can be child-based

You may remember that in January 2014 we gave you guidance on how many of your TC-L4 students’ client hours can be with children. Our guidance has always been that no more than 30% of the time can be child-based, although an exception is where the placement is with Place2Be, where up to 50% of hours can be counted (subject to tutor agreement). See Update and Student Update, January 2014, for more details.

Since then we have had more enquiries about how old the client should be to be classed as an adult. 16+? 18+? 21+? There is no hard-and-fast answer to this question as there is a wide variation in the venue and the format of counselling available to children and young adults. For example, a school counsellor would be offering a different service to a 17-year old than would be provided at a private counselling agency. Our advice would be for tutors and students to consider their placements together before making this decision, keeping in mind the necessity to provide as wide an experience of counselling practice as possible in order to support and enhance the class-based training. For more information, please see CPCAB’s ‘Guidance to workplace experience’.

Copenhagen Research Conference

We’ve recently uploaded a video in which Anthony Crouch (Chief Executive of CPCAB) talks about a counselling research conference in Copenhagen that he recently attended. You can watch it below.

As well as discussing some of the latest developments in counselling research, Anthony also talks about a variety of related issues, including client drop-out rates and short-term vs medium-to-long-term counselling.


Sign on wall...

‘Couples counselling.
Because sometimes your partner needs to hear from a PROFESSIONAL that it’s all their fault.’